Police officer with body camera captures heroic rescue of toddler

CLEVELAND - Cynthia Conner couldn't watch the video recording this week from a June 17 drowning incident-turned rescue that Cleveland Police just released. It was too close to her heart.

"I can't watch it again. It's too much," said Conner, the victim's aunt.

Conner heard screams from her mother's back yard as she was ironically helping a Cleveland Police officer with a report from a previous personal property damage incident. The CPD patrolman being instantly available to call for emergency backup may have saved her toddler nephew Drances Conner who had fallen into the family's above-ground pool. Somehow 2-year-old Drances had crawled over the 48" high wall, tumbling in over the thick plastic railing encircling its ten foot circumference.

"He was as shocked as much as I was at what suddenly happened," said Conner of the police officer taking the initial report.

Working as a team (Cynthia Conner had been trained in CPR) she and a quickly-responding patrolman Ismael Quintana, assisted by the officer already on scene, took charge of the lifeless body pulled from the pool.

None of the three gave up, urging the toddler to breathe among chest compressions captured on Quintana's body cam. His camera one of 200 body cams being used by CPD during a pilot program of the technology. The Cleveland Police Department reportedly has plans to purchase 1500 of the unique body cams. A patrolman carrying one can trigger their record button at any time they find appropriate.

The camera, that day, captured the three-person team reviving Drances. 

Unaware of the body cam's use that day, Cynthia Conner saw the video soon after its release. Grateful for Quintana's quick control-taking moves that day, she said she agrees with CPD's nomination for Quintana to receive a Distinguished Service Medal.

"He deserves it. He calmed me down and we worked together right away. We all knew what to do as he took the lead. It wouldn't have happened without him," said Cynthia Conner.

Cynthia's son Mordecai Conner said he thinks his mother deserves a medal as well. He hopes to learn CPR himself.

"Then maybe I'll be able to be like my mom," said Mordecai Conner.

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